Home | Oriental Rug GuideHow to Count Rug Knots....
Counting Rug Knots....Knot density (knots per square inch) is an important indicator
of rug quality. Most weaves are measured simply by counting the number of
knots per linear inch along the warp (i.e., along the length of the rug)
and the number of knots per linear inch along the weft (across the width
of the rug) and multiplying to get the number of knots per square inch (or per sq. cm.).
Unfortunately, this simple concept can be tricky to apply in practice.
Often the warps of the rug lie on the same plane. If the warps of the rug lie on the same plane, each knot (whether Turkish or Persian) will show on the back of the rug as two tiny squares of the same color next to each other across the width of the rug.
Sometimes the warps are offset so greatly that from the back of the rug alternate warps are hidden. If this occurs, each knot (whether Turkish or Persian) will show on the back of the rug as a single tiny square of color.
How do you know when to count one bump on the back of the rug as one knot? It's easy -- look carefully at the individual areas of color across the width of the back of the rug. If you only see colored elements in pairs, you need to count each pair as one knot. If you see lots of single colored elements, the rug has offset warps and each element should be counted as one knot. Many country rugs from Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iran show both knot elements on the back of the rug, as do Bokharas from Pakistan. Most rugs from India and China have strongly offset warps, and so show only one knot element on the back of the rug. Think you've got it? Take our knot-counting quiz. Back to top of page. Knot Nomenclature....In the Varanasi area of India, rugs are graded using two numbers, like "5/40," "9/60," or "12/60." The first number represents the knots in 9/10 of an inch of the rug's width. The second number represents the knots in 4 1/2 inches of the rug's length. 0.9" x 4.5" equals 4.05", almost four square inches, so an easy conversion is to multiply the two numbers together and divide by 4 (sq. in.) to get the approximate weave in knots per sq. in. For example, with a "9/60" quality rug, 9 X 60=540 and 540/4=135 knots per sq. in. Note that most rugs from India have strongly offset warps, so you will only see one element of the knot on the back of the rug. In Pakistan, indicated qualities like "16/16" or "16/18" for rugs in Persian design represent the number of knots per linear inch across the warp and weft counted in the normal way. For example, a "16/18" quality Kashan has 16 X 18 weave, or about 288 knots per sq. in. Note that these rugs have strongly offset warps, so you will only see one element of the knot on the back of the rug. So-called "double" Bokharas from Pakistan in qualities like "9/18," "10/20," "11/22," and "12/24" are different. In this type of rug, warps lie side-by-side and are not offset, so both elements of the knot show on the back of the rug. Be sure not to double-count the weave across the width when examining a Bokhara. China uses a completely different nomenclature, with "line counts" like "70 line," "90 line," or "120 line." The line count equals the number of knots in a linear foot measured across the width of the rug. Thus a "90 line" rug has 90 knots per linear foot across its width. A "90 line" Chinese rug has about 56 knots per sq. in.; a "SINO-PERSIAN" (a Chinese rug in Persian design) in "160 line" quality has about 177 knots per sq. in.; a "240 line" rug has about 400 knots per sq. in. Chinese rugs have strongly offset warps, so you will only see one element of the knot on the back of the rug. Back to top of page. Try our Knot Counting Quiz....Think you've got it? Test yourself by counting the knots per square inch in the samples below. Each sample represents a 1" x 1" section of the back of a rug
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